Playoff time is getting closer and closer, and we’ve started wondering about whom the LA Clippers will face in the first round of the playoffs. There’s still plenty of jostling for seeding to be done, and injuries to Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray muddy the waters, but it’s never too early.
Another factor that complicates the “whom will we play?” question is the play-in tournament. If the LA Clippers claim the second seed, they’ll play the winner of the 7 vs. 10 play-in. That’s probably going to be the 7 seed, but you never know.
What advantages do the LA Clippers have against their possible first round playoff matchups?
Given all of those complicating factors, there are several teams the LA Clippers could at least semi-realistically see in the first round. Given how close some of the seeding races are as well as the play-in tournament, there are six teams that I think are potential matchups: the Mavericks, the Lakers, the Trail Blazers, the Spurs, the Pelicans and the Warriors.
Some of those are more likely than others, of course. If the season ended today, it would be Clippers vs. Trail Blazers. For the Pelicans to meet the LA Clippers in the first round, they’ll need to climb up from the 11 seed to the 10, then win their play-in, and the Clips would have to climb to the 2 seed. But still, I’m not counting them out.
The LA Clippers have a distinct advantage in the first round, though, no matter who their opponent is. Let’s go through the list of potential matchups, and what advantage the LA Clippers hold. To make it fun, we’ll alternate doing a more realistic first round opponent (like the Trail Blazers) and a more far-fetched one (like the Spurs). Let’s get started, with what would be the first round matchup today.